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How to be the master of your own destiny

Life can be so very blissful, once we realize that we are the masters of our own destiny. It is only when we allow stress to overwhelm us that bliss starts waning from our lives and fear takes over. How to banish this fear so that we can claim our true identity is what I'm going to talk about today. 

BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN DESTINY

By eliminating fear you start sending positive signals to your mind and body. Once this begins to happen, our "Being" naturally settles into a happiness mode and then bliss returns.

We basically need to control our thoughts and not allow them to get negative. This level of self mastery is essential, and this is what leads to a powerful individual being.

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5 phases on the journey from fear to freedom and how they helped me navigate divorce

Lissa Rankin is pioneering practitioner of medicine, my longtime friend and mentor, and a doctor I’ve found to be inspirational through her real and raw approach to transformational work. When I spoke to her for my book Dead Set on Living we discussed how stress becomes normalized. Lissa had some great things to say about this. She maintains that we’ve normalized stress to the point where it has become almost a badge of honor in our culture, as well as a defense. To say we’re stressed is to put on a suit of armor that makes us feel more socially acceptable, because now we’re important, contributing, productive.

If we examine what stresses us out, we’ll see that much of it is rooted in fear—anything from fear of being late for work to fear of death. Lissa said that if there a fear “cure” it would be “coming into right relationship with uncertainty.” I loved that: coming intro right relationship with uncertainty.

She sent me an excerpt from her book The Fear Cure that can work as the foundation for a practice. Try it and see what you think.


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Don't Be Pressured

Bring mindful awareness to how your brain reacts to feeling threatened

What makes you feel threatened?

The Practice:
Don't be pressured.

Why?

Humans evolved to be fearful, as anxiety helped keep our ancestors alive. Consequently, we are vulnerable to being alarmed, manipulated, and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper tigers.”

This vulnerability to feeling threatened has effects at many levels, ranging from individuals, couples, and families to schoolyards, organizations, and nations. Whether it's an individual who worries about the consequences of speaking up at work or in a close relationship, a family cowed by a scary parent, a business fixated on threats instead of opportunities, or a country that's routinely told it's under "Threat Level Orange"—it's the same human brain that reacts in all cases.

Therefore, understanding how your brain became so vigilant and wary, and so easily hijacked by alarm, is the first step toward gaining more control over that ancient circuitry. Then, by bringing mindful awareness to how your brain reacts to feeling threatened, you can stimulate and therefore build up the neural substrates of a mind that has more calm, wisdom, and sense of inner strength—a mind that sees real threats more clearly, acts more effectively in dealing with them, and is less rattled or distracted by exaggerated, manageable, or false alarms.

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Give None Cause to Fear You

When others feel safe around you, you have less cause to fear them.

What puts people at ease?

The Practice:Give none cause to fear you.

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At Death’s Door

There are many fears we humans suffer.


On different lists they put in first place a number of associated fears. One says our greatest fear is Failure. Another, underscoring that we are animals of a pack, says the top fear is Loneliness. Psychology Today says it’s public speaking. They blend into each other: we fear an alteration in our group status.


The interesting one shows up as Number Two on almost all the lists: fear of death.

“In the midst of life,” wrote the cynic Ambrose Bierce, “we are in death.” Jesus tells us no man knows the hour and day of his death.


Where does death rate on your scale of fears?


Death Is Loss


“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ---Norman Cousins

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Letting Go

About 14 years ago I was sharing an inflatable kayak with my husband. The sun was out. The river was winding thru the tall, red rock walls outside of Moab, Utah.  Really everything was perfect. The only thing outside of that moment was my attention. I was missing my children. They were visiting my ex-husband and his family.
 
My mind was going to the places of what if….   things out of my control. 
 
I noticed the water was moving faster. In the distance there were some boulders surrounded by rapids. I brought this to my husband’s attention. He was not too concerned with the churning water. I was getting more and more worried. We only needed to go farther to the right, or farther to left to avoid the biggest boulder. 
 
As my attention focused more intently on potential disaster, it became less likely we would avoid it. My husband remained calm. The nose of the kayak was grabbed by the whirlpool. I fell out of the kayak into the swirling water. My husband remained in the kayak and passed me by. I grabbed hold of the boulder and attempted to stand in the place I had wanted to avoid.    
         
I was so mad! From the shore a man yelled instructions at me.  I held tightly to the rock. He called, “let go, it will be alright”. I kept my tight grip. The rapids continued to hit me. The water splashed in my face, I could not see clearly. I refused to let go. My grip kept me in the exact place I was afraid of.

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Looking Deep into the Problem of Fear

Everyday life proceeds along no matter how terrible circumstances become. But when traumatic events occur, everyday life doesn't solve them. Time alone cannot heal deep wounds. One after-effect of having something bad happen, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a bitter divorce, the outbreak of war, or being the victim of a crime, is anxiety. Millions of people suffer from anxiety and seek help from the billion-dollar market for tranquilizers or, less legitimately, opioids.

Anxiety often feels mysterious to those who suffer from it. Instead of being linked to a cause, such as being anxious to get to work on time when your car dies in traffic, modern anxiety is often free-floating. It's like a chronic condition that needs no immediate cause or is triggered by tiny causes that normally don't justify a feeling of anxiety.

To get at anxiety, there has to be an understanding of fear, because anxiety is residual fear. Despite the seemingly normal, untroubled activities of everyday life, something deeper down is generating the response of fear. So what is the role of fear as a human emotion? There is more than one function that fear plays, as follows:

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How to Realize That All Fear is Created By You

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”  - Ralph Waldo Emerson


It’s one of most common reasons people procrastinate on taking action toward their goals. We fear failure, or rejection, or being embarrassed, or disappointing or angering other people, or getting hurt. So we play it safe and avoid taking risks or trying new things.


Fear is natural. But where does it come from?


The answer is that it comes from US – from our own minds and imagination. it’s important to remember that, as humans, we’ve evolved to the stage where almost all of our fears are now self-created.


We scare ourselves by imagining negative outcomes to any activities we pursue or experience. But just because we imagine these things happening, that doesn’t mean they WILL happen, or that they will be as painful as we think.


That’s why psychologists like to say that fear stands for “Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real.”


Because fear is all about what MIGHT happen – not what WILL happen.

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Ending the Pain and Fear

Throughout your life you have had experiences that were painful. Those experiences made you first feel unsafe and when you feel unsafe fear arises. It is a natural reaction. You live with expectations that you will be loved, kept safe, be accepted and made to feel worthy, but there are people and circumstances that shake that belief. As a child maybe you were punished or spoken harshly to. Maybe you were made fun of by other children. Maybe as a teen you were rejected by a friend or embarrassed or you failed at something. As an adult you might have been cheated on or divorced. Maybe you lost a child or a spouse. Now the world doesn’t feel safe and loving.

These experiences created pain and that pain became personalized. You recreated yourself to be more loved, accepted and worthy. You hid the parts of you that were rejected by others or what you saw as your flaws. Your pain was the thorn that moved you from living in love to living in fear. It separated you from others because you felt you couldn’t be yourself, authentically, and still be loved. But most importantly the fear separated you from your Self.

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How to Deal with Fear of Missing Out

Fear of missing out or FOMO affects everyone, harming personal happiness and hampering inspiration. The “fear of missing out” is an uneasy, often all-consuming, feeling of missing important events.


It can arise when a birthday party happens. It can surge when the weekend rolls around. It can pop up when the phone doesn’t ring. FOMO is the fear that results when you think your peers are having more fun than you.

It can stir up beliefs that you are not good enough. It comes from wondering if they’re experiencing life’s best face when your face isn’t around.

Truth be told, FOMO is a widely experienced phenomenon. You’re not alone. The problem is that it can lead to an obsession with social media, create high levels of anxiety and contribute to your happiness. While FOMO is experienced by lots and lots of us, it is totally beatable. If you’re caught in a FOMO cycle, you can break the chain.

Where Does FOMO Come From?


Fear of missing out can be caused by many things: an imbalance between your home and work life, loss of sleep, loss of autonomy or a deep need for more competence. At the end of the day, however, FOMO is derived from the fear of unhappiness. So, really, the fear of missing out is just that: fear.

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Fear of Flying—Let Go, Let God

I used to be the classic “white-knuckle flyer.” I was in such a terrified state that I would clutch the armrests and tightly squeeze my partner’s hand to the point of cutting off her circulation. And this wasn’t only during episodes of turbulence; it was at every takeoff and landing and throughout the flight. Anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax or Valium had little effect. Wine only made me sleepy. Visualizations and positive affirmations couldn’t touch the core of my fear. I was convinced I was going to die at every sound or movement of the plane. It took courage to keep flying in the face of that, but I did. Still, no matter how I tried to reframe airplane travel, I remained stuck in my mind’s perceptual prison of danger and unease.


That is, until I met Panache Desai. It wasn’t just the expansive spiritual framework that he introduced me to. It was the experience of God that I first had through his programs and in his presence. The terror of infinity/eternity I had felt since childhood (which was probably feeding my fear of flying) gradually softened into tentative trust in something greater than my own singular life—and finally faith. I began to experience infinity as God, as a peace-filled spaceless space, which, if I surrendered to it, completely enfolded me in its loving embrace. It was an experience of the soul not the mind. That is what changed everything, slowly but monumentally.


I gradually began to fly without fear. At takeoff, I would relax into the power of the energy that was lifting me into space. It was exhilarating instead of terrifying. When the plane floated downward toward the landing strip, my consciousness floated with it. During the flight, I started to look out the window to see the worlds we were passing through instead of staring straight ahead or sitting rigidly with my eyes closed. Prairies and mountains, rivers and lakes, constantly changing clouds, sunrise and sunset, all were visible beyond the plane’s windows, and I had refused to look for years. Suddenly, I couldn’t stop looking, and I began to request window rather than aisle seats. I was Alice stepping through the looking glass into the full magic of life on (and above) Earth.

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Changing the Way We Think About Fear

As I travel around the country for my “I’ve Been Thinking…” book tour, I continue to be moved by the conversations I’m having with people along the way. This week, I was particularly struck by the conversations I’ve had with people about fear.

Fear. It’s one of the scariest and most complex emotions that we face as human beings. It can paralyze us and stop us in our tracks. Or, it can motivate us to keep fighting and keep pushing forward. Pushing through fear is not easy, I know. But it really is up to each of us to decide how to manage this nerve-wracking emotion that wreaks havoc on so many of us.

This week, I felt moved as I watched so many students push through their fear and use it as a motivator to stand up and speak out against gun violence, walking out of classrooms across the country. Rightfully so, these students and their parents are terrified of what is happening on school campuses across America. They don’t want to live in fear any longer as they sit in class or drop their kids off at school. These students and those who support them are using their fear to propel themselves and others into action. I am so inspired by their indignation and I admire the way they are using their voices.

My mother once told me that you are never too young to create an impact. You are never too young to make a difference. You may have to be 35 to run for president, but you don’t have to be that age to make a difference. That’s why I bow down to these students and I look forward to joining them next weekend as they mobilize again for “March For Our Lives.”

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Speak Up. Don't Suffer In Silence

Too many of us suffer in silence.

Pretending it’s okay…pretending we’re okay.

We keep ourselves stuck by silencing our inner voice and not utilizing our outer voice. Out of shame and fear we don’t ask for help and we don’t share our stories. Instead we seek isolation in an effort to escape the hurt, memories, shame or pain.

What you fail to realize is that you are NEVER alone in your experiences. There have been a multitude of people who have felt the same way before you and there are countless people who are feeling the same way now. You may not know them or see them, but they have the same feelings of anger, sadness, heartache, despair… They feel what you feel. You share each other’s fear.

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The Inconvenient Truth

In the past few weeks I have been fixated on the news and stories surrounding the world of USA Gymnastics. Like most of us, I have looked on with horror, disbelief, and heartbreak as well as a profound sense of admiration for the 156 women and girls - "the army of survivors" - who shared their victim impact statements and testified against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. I also cheered when Judge Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison and so matter-of-factly said, "It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You don't deserve to walk outside a prison ever again." Just yesterday, Nassar was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in prison after a second sentencing hearing where more than 60 young women and teenagers read or presented victim impact statements. 


Like many of us, I can't help thinking about the other people and organizations involved in this situation who were told or put on notice about Nassar's behavior and did nothing to stop it. Whether it was Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, or private training facilities, I am a huge proponent of the investigations that are and should be conducted as to how these entities and people - these enablers - ignored or mishandled the sexual assault complaints lodged against Nassar. It's chilling to realize that he could have been stopped decades ago. 


Being a mother of three daughters the same age range as many of the women I watched testify, what stops me in my tracks are the victims and survivors who shared that they told their parents what was going on and, for whatever reason, their parents dismissed or minimized what their child was saying and did not advocate or did not advocate strongly enough to put a stop to Nassar's sick, destructive, abusive behavior. 


Although, I would like to think that as a parent I would have listened and taken charge, and now there is no question that I would, 15 years ago when I was a newly divorced, single mother of three girls trying to juggle so many aspects of life, the truth is I don't know how I would have responded...And that haunts me. Doing a good deal of soul searching, I have been asking myself questions like: 
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Discovering the Divine Gift and Abandonment Isolation

For many people who are experiencing rapid spiritual growth, isolation may be a necessary part of the learning curve. One reason for this is that the cellular pain comes to the surface it is hard even for those who are consciously aware not to project it to those around them.  Another reason for the isolation is that company can distract us from facing what we need to so we can move on.

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How does your reaction to change affect your life experience?

At this moment, you and I are living in an information age. We are living through shifts in the meta-structures of the game that are very profound. We haven’t even begun to grow into it.

Our mythology is so based on our previous ages and consciousness, that we haven’t even understood it yet. I mean, we’re just beginning the dance of understanding what it means when we have a collective unconsciousness, when we have information moving at the rate it is. We’re still getting overloaded trying to collect it. But it’s obvious – you can’t collect it.

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At the corner of fear and forgiveness

Many have memories of fun-filled afternoons, family vacations, weekends loaded with laughter and wise knowledge being passed from an idealized parent.

 

What about the others?

 

The children who shy away from light because they are strangely comforted by the darkness.

 

How about all of the once innocent children, now struggling adults, who hide inside the shadows that dance along with their lives.

 

Not every childhood memory is warmly filled. Many are chilled with ice as sharp as knives. Pain that swallows them alive.

 

What about them?

 

Those that get denied and pushed aside. The ones that we choose not to see because it makes us uncomfortable or forces us to face our own darkness.

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Unmaking Enemies, Unraveling Fear

We are living through adversarial times in this country. People want to blame others for whatever they believe is wrong with their own lives. Immigrants, gay people, outspoken women—choose one or all of the above, and you have an instant “enemy.” It’s a behavioral pattern that can be traced back through centuries of human relationships on this planet.
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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind